Morning
Brief: Charting A Growth Path For Shipbuilding Industry; Crop Loan Subsidy; Fed
Raises RateShipbuilding industry set for major growth.

Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news and views brief for today.

Government Charting Growth Path For Shipbuilding Industry: The government is drawing up a blueprint for a new shipbuilding, breaking and repair policy that is expected to double the size of the industry to Rs 20,000 crore by 2022. The new policy will specially focus on generating a niche capacity and positioning India as a manufacturing destination for LPG, LNG, cruise and chemical tanker ships, besides inland vessels, a top government official has said. A maritime development fund to financially assist the domestic shipbuilding industry is also part of the proposed policy.

Centre To Offer Subsidy On Crop Loan: The Union cabinet on Wednesday decided to provide 5 per cent interest subsidy to farmers on short-term crop loans during the current fiscal, in a move seen as a bid to douse unrest after the violence in Mandsaur and farmer protests in Maharashtra. The short-term crop loan of up to Rs 3 lakh will be made available to the prompt payee farmers at 4 per cent interest rate as against the prevailing 9 per cent. In case farmers do not repay their loans in time, they will only be eligible for interest subvention of 2 per cent instead of 5 per cent. All short-term crop loan accounts will be linked to Aadhaar from the current year.

Naming And Shaming Big Defaulters: Names of the 12 big loan defaulters identified by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for initiation of bankruptcy proceedings will soon be made public, the Finance Ministry has said. The ministry’s principal economic adviser Sanjeev Sanyal said the cases of these defaulters, who account for as much as 25 per cent of the bad assets, will be accorded priority by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). Each of the defaulters identified by RBI owes over 5,000 crore rupees to banks. They also said that NCLT was being strengthened to fast track bankruptcy proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.

Discounts Galore As GST Knocks At The Door: Discount sales on goods such as cars, large electronic appliances, apparel, garments, mobile accessories and footwear are gaining momentum across online platforms and traditional offline retail format stores, as the countdown to the rollout of goods and services tax (GST) enters its last leg. While white goods such as air-conditioners are available at discounts ranging between 10-40 per cent, some apparel companies are offering discounts as high as 50 per cent on their products, with flash sales offering retailers an opportunity to clear slow-moving inventory. This comes as retailers are staring at lower margins on certain products stocked before 1 July.

Beheading Remark Brings Trouble For Baba Ramdev: A Rohtak court on Wednesday issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against yoga guru Ramdev for his controversial “beheading” remark made in the city last year. The Court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate of Rohtak Harish Goyal had earlier issued a bailable warrant against Ramdev and summons to him for his remarks “for intentional insult with intent to provoke the breach of peace”. However, after Ramdev failed to appear on both occasions, the court issued the arrest warrant on Wednesday.

NITI Aayog Backs ‘Nava Kerala Mission’: Government think tank NITI Aayog has pledged support to ambitious ‘Nava Kerala Mission’ which focuses on education, health, agriculture and housing. The support was offered during a meeting between NITI Aayog officials and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. He sought more central assistance for various projects under the mission and the other initiatives of the state, including the development of national waterways, setting up an industrial corridor connecting Kochi and Coimbatore, a petrochemical complex in Kochi, international ayurveda institute in Kannur and electronic hardware parks.

Nominations Open For Presidential Election: The process of filing nominations for the presidential poll began on Wednesday with six persons filing papers for the 17 July election. The nomination process would continue until 28 June. The notification for the polls was issued by the Election Commission of India today. The ruling National Democratic Alliance and a loosely knit group of opposition parties have intensified efforts to zero in on a “mutually acceptable” presidential candidate. They are expected to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday to discuss a consensus candidate.

India And Australia Kick Off Joint Naval War Games: Indian warships began a week-long naval exercise off the coast of western Australia, weeks after New Delhi refused Australia's request to join the Malabar exercises. The second AUSINDEX exercises, the first in the Indian Ocean, are aimed at increasing interoperability between Australian and Indian naval forces, executing complex naval manoeuvres. Australia and India are natural partners in maritime security, particularly in the region where India has its greatest strategic interests. In the past couple of years, the two countries have ramped up security cooperation beyond mil-to-mil exercises.

Fed Raises Key Interest Rate: For the third time in six months, the US Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark interest rate, providing its latest vote of confidence in a slow-growing but durable economy. The Fed also announced plans to start gradually paring its bond holdings later this year, which could cause long-term rates to rise. The increase in the short-term rate by a quarter-point to a still-low range of 1 per cent to 1.25 per cent could lead to higher borrowing costs for consumers and businesses and slightly better returns for savers.

Indian-Origin Doctor New Irish Prime Minister: Leo Varadkar, the son of a Mumbai-origin doctor, was on Wednesday confirmed as Ireland’s new prime minister following a vote in the country’s Parliament. Varadkar, 38, who was earlier this month elected leader of the ruling Fine Gael party, is a medical doctor and the country’s youngest and first gay leader. He secured 57 votes to 50, with 47 abstentions, reports from Dublin said. His father worked in the National Health Service in London before moving to Ireland.

MUST READ OPINIONS AND COLUMNS

CPEC: The Need For A Second Look By India: CPEC is a net geo-strategic power addition to the formidable Sino-Pakistani nexus as it exists today. New Delhi should open negotiations with the Chinese to explore if CPEC can be extended west to Afghanistan and east to India.

Bitcoin, The New Hawala: Controlling terrorist funding was one major reason for government’s demonetisation initiative. If India fails to regulate bitcoin, this new hawala may ironically become the easy way of funding terrorism.

Donald Trump’s Paris Agreement pullout: Masterstroke, Death Knell, Or Farce? The Trump administration could have remained party to the Paris Agreement while still pursuing its policy goals. The Paris climate deal will only survive if the remaining countries, including India and China, are able to make the US pay some price for its exit.

Reviving Indo-European Engagement In The Baltic: As New Delhi takes the initiative to regulate these new domains domestically and internationally, it would benefit from a closer dialogue to assess and share experiences with Baltic policymakers.

SWARAJYA SPECIAL

Modi’s DeMo Gambit Failed: Costs Exceed Gains And Farm Anger Is The Final Piece Of Evidence: Good politics begins with accepting that DeMo did not work. Hiding the truth can hurt Modi more than acknowledging it – directly or indirectly. But DeMo is his ultimate test. If he learns from this, his next two years may still be his best.

We hope you enjoyed reading our morning brief. Have a great day ahead!

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